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Poetry of E.E.Cummings 
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Post Poetry of E.E.Cummings
I thought I would open a thread to discuss the poetry of E. E. Cummings as it relates to The Enormous Room. Please, feel free to post a poem and get the discussion going.


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Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:05 pm
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Saffron, it's got to be this one for me just now:-

Spring is like a perhaps hand

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and from moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.

e.e. cummings

Image


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Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:26 pm
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Thanks, Penny. You pick a good one for us to start with, it must have been written within 5 years of being in the prison camp. The first copy write date on the poem is 1923 and Cummings was imprisoned in 1917.

It is also a good choice because I think the poem has a similar spirit as the the novel -- at least so far. Cummings uses some of the same idiosyncratic stylistic techniques in both.


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Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:20 pm
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I've always liked the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls by E. E. Cummings. Partly it is the edge to it. But the underlying disapproval, the sense of blame has also (despite my liking the poem) made me uncomfortable. The enormous room gives me the same feeling.


the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls
are unbeautiful and have comfortable minds
(also, with the church's protestant blessings
daughters, unscented shapeless spirited)
they believe in Christ and Longfellow,both dead,
are invariably interested in so many things-
at the present writing one still finds
delighted fingers knitting for the is it Poles?
perhaps. While permanent faces coyly bandy
scandal of Mrs. N and Professor D
....the Cambridge ladies do not care,above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy


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Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:32 pm
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According to John Arthos in his article "The Poetry of E. E. Cummings," Cummings says "There is an I Feel; an actual universe or alive of which our merely real world or thinking existence is at best a bad, at worst a murderous, mistranslation; flowers give me this actual universe." This is from Cummings book Eimi.

What a packed sentence. There is the attention to things themselves which I think is laudable. This idea is what generated much of his poetry. He sought to (I think) present us with Truth by presenting us with a direct touch of (what he calls) the Actual. Yet as much as I like the concept "the thing itself," underlying Cummings sentence is a set of beliefs that I just can't get behind.

The idea that there is an Actual that is superimposed on the Real, for example. I understand that this is a fundamental belief for people of Cummings' faith but it isn't a fundamental fact of the empirical universe which is where the things themselves get their thingness. Unless, of course, we are going Platonic and then thingness is really not thingness but immaterial Ideaness. But a flower, now that is a thing. An empirical, worldly thing.

And then there is the I Feel component of the sentence, which is definitely a real world response of the human animal to the world in which it lives but in his sentence it is as if he thinks that the human capacity to sense and feel is somehow a direct link to the Actual while still being the link to the empirical thing. I find the sentence fraught with difficulty when one tries to unpack what he is actually trying to get us to buy.


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Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:45 pm
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